Northeastern Law and History Design Interactive Map for UN to Ensure Indigenous Religious Rights


07.16.22 — Northeastern Law’s Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE) and NuLawLab have collaborated with the Northeastern History Department to design a unique resource for the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief: an interactive map of indigenous religious rights worldwide. Funded by a Northeastern University seed grant, the Northeastern team developed the mapping tool and researched countries’ compliance with religious protections outlined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), submitting the tool to the UN Special Rapporteur in response to a call for inputs.

The team, which includes students, staff and faculty, has completed work on 25 countries so far. The project revealed only partial implementation of UNDRIP in most countries, suggesting that more accountability and monitoring is needed to ensure indigenous religious rights. The UN Special Rapporteur will draw on the mapping tool to prepare a thematic report for the 77th session of the UN General Assembly.

“Adopted by the UN in 2007, UNDRIP is a relatively recent human rights standard,” said Davis.  "Still, 15 years is certainly enough time for countries to enact laws implementing its provisions.  Hopefully the Special Rapporteur's work will bring additional attention to this issue of religious freedom."

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